The Mississippi state Legislature passed a constitutional carry bill this week (HB 786), putting Mississippi in line to become the ninth state to allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. The law will take effect when Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signs the bill, which, according to the NRA-ILA, is expected in the near future.
Mississippi law previously allowed residents to carry a firearm openly or within a bag without a permit from the state. House Bill 786 expands permitless carry options to include belts and shoulder holsters.
Mississippi, West Virginia, and Idaho have passed Constitutional carry bills this year. Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, and Wyoming also allow for permitless carry. According to the Washington Free Beacon, “The trend of states moving to constitutional carry laws has accelerated sharply since 2003, when only Vermont had such a system.”
Mississippi House members originally introduced the bill to allow those with a concealed carry permit to carry their firearms in church. But, according to Guns.com, the bill’s scope was greatly expanded when it reach the Senate Judiciary B Committee:
House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, himself a lawyer and minister of a small church, was able to add an amendment to allow unlicensed carry of a concealed gun elsewhere in the state so long as it is in a holster or scabbard on the belt or shoulder.
The Senate passed the amended version of the bill on a 36-14 vote, and the House passed it 85-35.
The bill now accomplishes the following, per the NRA-ILA:
- Expands current permitless carry options to include belt and shoulder holsters;
- Allows church authorities to develop security programs that designate enhanced carry permit holders or those with military or law enforcement backgrounds to protect places of worship and receive the benefits of existing protections under the state’s “Castle Doctrine” law; and
- Prohibits state or local enforcement of federal executive orders or agency regulations not approved by Congress which conflict with the Constitution of the United States or the Mississippi Constitution.
“This bill goes a long way toward protecting the Second Amendment rights of Mississippians,” said Amy Hunter, NRA-ILA Mississippi spokesperson. “The people of Mississippi know the government cannot always protect them, and they want the ability to defend themselves, their families, and their communities most effectively. This includes while worshipping. HB 786 lets law-abiding Mississippians carry firearms in the way that best suits their needs, and it lets churches designate the best methods for protecting their congregations.”
The Second Amendment says it best: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Requiring a permit to carry a firearm is a clear infringement of Americans’ constitutional rights. States like Mississippi are honoring the Constitution by allowing their citizens to protect themselves without government interference.
(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Jordan Michaels.)